He first appears in the film when getting served pizza by Sal in Sal's Pizzeria. His expression shows how confused he is about the size of the pizza slice he received. Sal asks for the money, to which he replies: "how much?" Sal says how he has been in and out of the pizzeria all week and if he is a "retard." He says it's $1.50, but Buggin' Out says to put some extra cheese on the pizza. Sal says how extra cheese is $2. Buggin' Out gets annoyed about this, but gives him the money and takes the slice.
When sitting down and about to eat his pizza slice, he notices how there are no black celebrities on the Wall of Fame. Sal replies by saying how it is his place and can put whoever he wants on the wall. Buggin' Out says how nobody Italian American eats there, only black folk and says that the black people should have a say. Sal asks Buggin' Out if he is looking for trouble and gets a baseball bat and threatens him. Pino takes the bat off of Sal and kicks Buggin' Out from his pizzeria, while he tells people to boycott the restaurant.
Mookie takes Buggin' Out outside the pizzeria and Mookie says how he should come back in a week. Buggin' Out spends most of the day trying to get people to help him boycott Sal's Pizzeria, but does not get any success. When meeting up with Mookie, he is curious about Mookie hanging around with Vito. When Mookie and Vito go, Buggin' Out almost gets knocked down by a white man named Clifton and his sneakers get dirt on them. He hollers at Clifton and runs to him, with people joining him to back him up. Buggin' Out starts arguing with him saying how he should buy him another pair and what he is doing in a black neighborhood.
Later, Buggin' Out is seen trying to clean his sneakers with a toothbrush, which does not work. Jade has a talk with him and says how he should not care about the Wall of Fame and should be down with the community. Buggin' Out disagrees but says how he still "loves" her.
At nightfall, he meets with Radio Raheem, and later Smiley, and asks them to help boycott the pizzeria, to which they agree to. They march into the pizzeria with "Fight the Power" blasting from Raheem's boom box. Buggin' Out shouts aggressively to Sal on how they won't be leaving until they get some black people on the Wall of Fame. Sal is really angry about Raheem playing the music loudly in his pizzeria and shouts at them to leave. Sal loses his temper, gets his basesball bat out and uses racist language against Buggin' Out and Raheem before smashing the boom box with the bat. After a moment of silence, they all start to fight in the pizzeria, before ending up outside and fighting. Pino is known to have called the police, who arrest Buggin' Out and choke Raheem to death. Buggin' Out gets taken into a patrol car and driven away, while getting hit in the chest by the nightstick of a police officer who also uses racist language against him. People are left to mourn to the death of Raheem and a riot starts, which gets Sal's Pizzeria burnt down.
The next day, Sal says how it is all Buggin' Out's fault that Radio Raheem is dead, saying how Buggin' Out started all this.